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UPDATE, May 12, 2023: Fields Moseley, Maricopa County director of communications, provided The Western Journal with a legal filing from the county that addressed some of the issues discussed in this article. That information has been added below.
In the ongoing court fight over Arizona’s November election, Kari Lake is raising the stakes.
The legal team for the Republican gubernatorial candidate on Tuesday asked the state Superior Court to review a decision from December that threw out her claims about printing problems that plagued the state’s most populous county on election day.
In an explosive filing that claims to have “new and compelling evidence” to back up a cybersecurity expert’s findings that happened in Maricopa County on Nov. 8 was the result of intentional misconduct that amounted to sabotage of the voting system on behalf of the Democrat who now holds the governor’s office.
The filing related to a Dec. 24 decision by Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson, which dismissed Lake’s argument that misconduct by Maricopa County election officials warranted challenging the razor-close results. (Lake lost to current Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs by only about 17,000 votes out of 2.5 million cast).
Another player might have thrown in her cards at that point — on that front at least — but Lake stayed in the game. And in the filing on Tuesday presented new evidence for the cybersecurity expert’s findings that Maricopa County officials had not only engaged in misconduct on Election Day, but lied about it during reviews of the process.
The filing rests largely on the findings of Clay U. Parikh, the same expert whose testimony was discounted in the December court decision. It presents evidence the Lake legal says was not available for the earlier trial, including a review of election center printer issues that was not released until April 10.
And if it holds up, it could well be the smoking gun clue that overturns the Hobbs election.
In an “Exhibit A” declaration in Tuesday’s filing, Parikh described how records that have become available since the December decision indicate the Maricopa County Elections Department and the Arizona secretary of state’s office had falsely certified election voting center tabulators — the same tabulators whose failure caused such havoc in the county on Nov. 8.
(It’s worth pointing out again here that now-Gov. Hobbs was secretary of state at the time of the November election. If there was underhanded behavior afoot that was benefitting the Democratic candidate for governor, the secretary of state’s office, Hobbs’ own bureaucratic fiefdom, would be an ideal place for it.)
While the county elections office and the secretary of state’s office claimed that the equipment had been tested in public on Oct. 11, meeting the requirements of the state’s Elections Procedure Manual, Parikh’s statement declares:
“The only testing of the 445 voting center tabulators with the same election project as that used on Election Day … (as required by the EPM) occurred on October 14, 17th, or 18th, after Maricopa County and the Secretary of State had already signed L&A testing certifications, which must now be considered fraudulent.” (Italics added.)
In addition, Parikh stated, what testing was done was outside the eyes of the public, used a far smaller sample size than was needed, and also showed that the machines were ripe for failure.
All of that adds up to the charge that the problems that Kari Lake contends kept her from winning the governor’s office were essentially deliberate:
“Following the tests of October 14, 17, and 18, and with the failed state of the tabulators preserved, Maricopa County knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard, distributed the tabulators to voting centers for use on ElectionDay,” Parikh’s executive summary states.
When it comes to the notorious ballot printing problems, the country attributed them largely to improper settings, but Parikh sees something worse:
They were not only predictable, because they had emerged in what little testing was done before the election, but were also much more widespread than the county has acknowledged.
And it was, Parikh stated, deliberate.
One major problem involved 19-inch ballots being printed on 20-inch paper, which made their image too small for the tabulators to read, according to Parikh’s statement.
The county claimed that was a technical issue caused by an inadvertent setting made by a technician or technicians and involved only a small number of votes that ended up being counted anyway.
But Parikh’s statement, citing the report released in April, noted that the error occurred much more often than the county acknowledged, in the middle of batches of ballots being printed, and, most importantly, that it occurred on printers made by two different manufacturers.
All of that adds up to a deliberate plan, Parikh’ statement declares, not human error or technical malfunction.
“The only cause of this is erroneous code/malware or remote configuration changes,” the statement notes.
Maricopa’s cards won’t be on the table until the county’s court responses are uploaded to the Superior Court website. (That hadn’t happened by Wednesday afternoon. Lake’s motion to reconsider was also not available on the website.)
A request for comment Wednesday from Fields Mosely, Maricopa County’s director of public communications, was answered with a terse note: “The County does not comment on current litigation. Thank you.”
However, on Thursday, he provided a copy of a legal filing in which Maricopa County’s attorneys disputed Lake’s claim that 260 tabulators had failed secret L&A testing done in October before the election.
“First, the Secretary of State’s representatives attested on the State’s official Logic & Accuracy Certificate that the required logic and accuracy testing occurred on October 11, 2022,” the document reads. “One of those representatives was Kori Lorick, the State Elections Director.
“Second, Maricopa County Elections Department employees and political party observers signed the County’s official Certificate attesting that the logic and accuracy testing occurred on October 11, 2022.”
The county also denied that secret testing occurred on Oct. 14, 17 and 18 and that 260 of the 446 tabulators failed those tests. Its legal filing said that on those dates, “the County installed new memory cards, containing the certified Election Program that had undergone the logic and accuracy testing, on each of its tabulators.”
Further, it said, “When installing the memory cards, the County tabulated a small number of ballots on each tabulator to be certain that the memory cards had been properly inserted.”
The county also said the tabulators did not fail the testing but rather the misread errors Parikh identified in the machines’ logs could have been caused by a number of issues, including ballots being inserted incorrectly.
Finally, the county asserted that Lake’s team could not infer malicious intent from what Parikh discovered, pointing to an independent review overseen by former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor reported in April that the cause of the Election Day polling tabulator/printer problems was “unknown.”
Lake, however, clearly thinks she has a strong hand to play, and the stakes keep getting higher.
With every day that Katie Hobbs remains in power in an election that’s still being disputed, the credibility of every decision from the Arizona governor’s office is going to be open to question.
And it’s pretty clear that Kari Lake isn’t going to fold.
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